Go With The Flow: Yoga And RA

I love running my hand along the barre in the dance studio, the smooth firm surface caressing the tips of my fingers. There was always something comforting about the barre beneath my hand. It grounded me, it supported me and when the music played, it transported me. The dance studio has always been a magical place. I loved the anticipation that warmed my body while tying up the silk ribbons of my pink ballet shoes. I loved stepping onto the polished hardwood floor, high up on my toes, performing my own little string of pearls in front of the great high mirrors.

The dance studio was my second home for almost 30 years. It was my meditation garden, my escape to new worlds. It was the place where my body could do incredible things. When I was diagnosed with RA, the dance studio became less of a home and more like a museum to visit the past.

I had always moved and keeping my body flexible and strong, especially as a dancer, was always a top priority. RA didn’t change that priority, but it did bring some challenges on how to maintain my physical health without hurting my joints – not only that, but I wanted to find exercise that would do for me what dance had always done.

Yoga was like a mirror to dance life – it flowed like choreography, it challenged me, it took me away to another place. It became my new meditation garden. Yoga is flexible, and with so many different kinds to explore, there is a form for every body shape and every level of physical condition. It can be powerful, it can be restorative; it can be graceful, it can be daring. It massages the internal organs as well as supporting the outer body. It allows us time for ourselves and is great way to connect the body and mind.

The two articles below characterize how yoga became a significant component in my life with RA, and how it supported me throughout a pandemic.

Many thanks to Creaky Joints Canada, for letting me share my voice, and to Everyday Health for talking to me about my experience.


How Yoga Saved Me

Best and Worst Styles of Yoga for Rheumatoid Arthritis

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About me

J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.